Preparing for Birth Australian Edition Partial Preview - Page 21

Newborn Care What Newborns Need The first three months of baby’s life can be considered a “transition time” from womb to world. Baby’s needs are relatively simple: Holding • Soothing, love and comfort: holding, rocking, interaction such as talking or singing • To be clean and dry: frequent nappy changes and other physical care (bathing, caring for umbilical cord, etc.) • To be warm: blankets, hat or skin-to-skin with a parent’s body • Food: feeding every 1-3 hours or more frequently • Sleep: in short cycles for 16 hours or more per day Preview Soothing For the first few months, crying is a common way your baby communicates with you. There are many ways to soothe a crying baby, and Know Your Limits parents quickly learn what works best for their baby. Some suggestions include: It is absolutely critical that you never shake a • Breastfeeding • Swaddling • Massage, touch or burping • Singing, talking or “shushing” • “White noise” such as a vacuum or using a white noise app • Motion such as swaying, bouncing or rocking • Taking a walk or drive • Going outside Many babies are soothed by being held in this position as it puts gentle pressure on the tummy but still keeps a parent close and allows movement such as swaying. Babies are more content and thrive when they are held frequently, especially in the early months. Fortunately, there is a lot of gear available to help safely support baby near your body, leaving your arms free. This is often referred to as “babywearing.” Be sure to try out a variety of carriers to find the one that you like best and look at consumer information and reviews. Consider baby’s age, head control, body alignment and room to breathe with each carrier you inspect, as well as its versatility as baby grows. baby or act violently toward a baby in any way. This can cause permanent brain damage or death. If you are feeling frustrated or you are losing your temper, put baby down in a safe place and walk away until you are calm again. If needed, call someone to come and help you until you are ready to try again. There are many different parenting philosophies found in books and websites that offer advice on how to comfort baby, help baby sleep or care for baby. Every baby and every family is different and it is often best to trust your own common sense in addition to the “experts.” The natural human instinct is to hold and soothe a crying baby. The good news is that a newborn cannot be spoiled or held too much. Make it a goal to establish trust with your baby and teach them that someone will be there to care for their needs, even if that need is simply to be held close to you. Life with Baby 63